Francis C. Macansantos launched his 4,000-line epic poem, "Womb of Water, Breasts of Earth" during the "Panagbenga 2008 Poetry Reading and Book Launch yesterday afternoon at the UP Baguio multi-purpose hall.
The epic poem of the three-time Palanca awardee won the 2003 Writers Prize for Poetry of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), which published the book.
Noting the significance of the opus, poet-literary critic Alfred A. Yuson writes in the preface to the book:
We may now say that Mr. Francis Macansantos has followed in the footsteps of but a very few predecessors, in the persons of the esteemed Filipino poets Ricaredo Demetillo, Alejandrino G. Hufana and Cirilo F. Bautista.
No one else to my mind, but Mr. Macansantos has in recent years managed to complete an epic poem, one beholden not only to relative great length, but as well to a central unifying theme that is explored for its multi-facted avenues of extended expression, as well as manifestation of multiple if singularly sourced insights.
The affair was held in celebration not only of Baguio City's flower festival but also of the "National Arts Month" as designated by the NCCA. Representing the NCCA, Ms. Mylene Urriza delivered the opening remarks.
1. BWG President Ms. Babeth Lolarga: “Miranda Far and Near,” “Open Letter of Resignation from Housewifery”
2. GUMIL member and Palanca Awardee Mr. Jimmy Agpalo: “Ti Buong Ti Ulo a Di Magalem,” “Ang Tilamsik ng Dalawang Batong Nag-uumpogan,” “Ang Kritisismo at Ang Komentaryo,” “Ayat iti Langalang”
3. BWG Founding Member Mr. Francis Macansantos: Womb of Water, Breasts of Earth (excerpts)
4. UPB Chancellor Dr. Priscilla Supnet-Macansantos: “Pagdalaw sa Burnham,” “Iti Ayat”
5. Dean of the UPB College of Arts and Communication (CAC) Dr. Elizabeth Calinawagan: “”Panagdalliasat”
6. BWG Member Ms. Mercy Dulawan: “Nene,” “Paslit Akong Walang Malay,” “Kung Ibig Mo,” “Pagtitimpi”
7. Ubbog President Janice Bagawi: "san si nu kob", (1 untitled)
8. UPB Instructor Junley Lazaga: "A Poem for February," "Ti Lipat," "Sa Anong Luha"
9. Ms. Abigail Dayawen: "Pagsilang," "Laro," "Untitled 3"
10. Ubbog member Rommel de Guzman: "Isang Langaw sa Salamin," "Kailan Nawawalan ng Lasa ang Chickenjoy"
11. Ubbog member Chinee Sanchez Palatino: "Ikaw ang Ulap Ko," "Pusod," "Sa Masugid na Bubuyog Ko"
* Thanks to Janice for the photos and to Junley for the updated programme! Tayab kakabsat, tayab!